This guide looks at differences in wellbeing scores between different groups of graduates 40 months after graduation.
Below are some of the differences we found when looking at all graduates together (without splitting them by the activity undertaken at 40 months).
Happiness, life satisfaction and a sense that what you do is worthwhile
It may seem that happiness, life satisfaction and a feeling that 'what you do in life is worthwhile' are very similar, but it is not the case that groups of people always give the same response to questions about them. In the findings below, we highlight the questions for which the differences are largest.
- Graduates aged 21 and over at the start of their course were more likely to give a very high rating for the sense that what you do is worthwhile than those who were under 21.
- Graduates who reported having a disability were less likely to report very high levels of happiness and life satisfaction than those who didn’t.
- For graduates who were in employment 40 months after graduation, those who remained in their home region for study and employment were the most likely to report very high levels of happiness.
- Graduates whose course included a sandwich year reported higher levels of life satisfaction than those who did not take a sandwich year. Those whose course did not include a sandwich year were twice as likely to report low life satisfaction than those who took a sandwich year.
- Graduates from courses in education and subjects allied to medicine were most likely to report very high levels of life satisfaction and happiness, whilst those from courses in computer sciences had the highest proportion with low happiness scores.
- A higher proportion of female graduates than male graduates reported a very high rating for the sense that the things they were doing were worthwhile.
- Graduates from POLAR3 quintile 1 (those areas with the lowest rate of participation in higher education) reported very low levels of anxiety more commonly than those from quintile 5 areas.
- Graduates who achieved a first class degree more commonly reported high levels of anxiety than those with any other degree classification.
We recognise that a number of these characteristics will interact with one another. For example, it could be that a higher proportion of female graduates report very high life satisfaction than male graduates because a much higher number of females than males graduates from degrees in subjects allied to medicine. However, this analysis is limited to showing characteristics in isolation so that we can understand where the differences are.
Further analysis is likely to include statistical modelling - this will allow us to examine whether or not these differences persist when controlling for other factors and to look at effects related to the method of response.
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